Bringing The World Home To You

© 2021 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

North Carolinians With High-Risk Medical Conditions Move Up COVID Vaccine Waitlist, Positive Tests Hit New Low

Courtesy Governor Roy Cooper Twitter

The state is expanding eligibility for vaccines to people with medical conditions that put them at high risk from COVID-19 on March 17 — a week sooner than previously planned. People living in congregate settings such as prisons and homeless shelters will also become eligible at that time.

Top health officials say they want available doses to be used up as quickly as possible. Proceeding to Group 4 is an effort to keep demand ahead of supply. At a media briefing Thursday, officials announced that North Carolina will open up vaccinations to the rest of Group 4 — including more essential workers and students living in dorms — on April 7.

The state expanded eligibility to Group 3 last week, which includes an estimated 1.2 million people.

Deputy Health Secretary Kody Kinsley said the strategy is to be certain that local health providers are using all of their supply each week.

"We want to make sure across the board we're keeping demand ahead of supply to keep us moving as fast as possible because fast as possible means saving lives overall," said Kinsley.

Appointment slots that open up are often filled just minutes after they become available. Kinsley said the state health department is encouraging local providers to create multiple ways to make appointments and set aside some for historically marginalized groups.

On Thursday, positive tests for COVID-19 in North Carolina reached their lowest mark since tracking started a few weeks after the pandemic hit the state. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services' latest data show a positivity test rate of 3.8%.

WUNC's Rusty Jacobs contributed to this report.

Related Stories
More Stories